DirecTV and DISH Network - How Do The Two Leading Satellite TV Providers Stack Up?
and DISH Network - How Do The Two Leading Satellite TV Providers Stack Up?
live in the U.S. and want satellite TV systems, you have basically two
choices. Yes, there are other
providers out there, but for most viewers, DirecTV and DISH Network offer the
most choices for the least money, although Pegasus and Voom are fast becoming
major contenders in the satellite television industry.
Competition being what it is, both DirecTV and DISH Network offer
similar services and constantly adjust to add features and outdo their rivals.
So how do you choose between the two?
A side-by-side comparison of the services and prices shows some
differences that help customers decide which service best fits their viewing
needs. But first, a little
background on each provider might be helpful.
company known as The DirecTV Group is made up of four main units, which
include DirecTV U.S., DirecTV Latin America, PanAmSat, and Hughes Network
Systems (HNS). As a group, the
organization serves over 12 million U.S. satellite TV customers and another
1.5 million subscribers in Latin countries.
Through PanAmSat, they operate a fleet of 25 satellites capable of
providing satellite transmissions to 98% of the world.
And Hughes Network Systems operates a satellite-based consumer
broadband Internet access service known as DirecWay.
This component of Hughes has over 180,000 subscribers.
HNS is also one of the largest manufacturers of DirecTV set-top
receivers. The four different
aspects of The DirecTV Group give the company a large, comprehensive base of
direct and indirect satellite customers.
Their partnerships with technology leaders such as AOL, Microsoft, and
TiVo also add to their customer base.
are plans for improving and expanding services in efforts to attract more
customers. Hughes Network
Services is developing SPACEWAY, a more advanced satellite broadband
communications package that is expected to provide customers with more
affordable high-speed, two-way data communications. SPACEWAY is expected to be
introduced in 2005.
has been actively working to increase the number of markets where they offer
local programming. In January of
this year, the company added 18 new markets that will receive local channels
via the DirecTV(R) programming service. By
year-end, the company plans to offer local channels in a minimum of 130
markets, representing 92% of U.S. television households.
Continued marketing and development of their HDTV and DVR products will
also be a part of their plans to expand their customer base.
Two different basic dish designs and several different manufacturers
provide DirecTV consumers with a number of dish options.
subscribers have a choice of two basic dish designs for their satellite
service. The round dish is the
more common 18" design that has been popular across the country.
The oval dish or low noise blockdown (LNB) dish is able to receive
information from more than one satellite and is required for those who want to
receive local channels, HDTV, or Spanish language programming.
manufacturers of DirecTV compatible dishes include Hughes, Sony, Phillips, and
RCA. Current DirecTV sales and
deals offer the satellite dish and other equipment for free with a one-year
commitment. It could cost
anywhere from $50 to over $200 to purchase the DirecTV compatible dish
Communications Corporation and their DISH Network service are Hughes
Network's top competitors. Headquartered
in Englewood Colorado, EchoStar has been a leader in the satellite TV industry
for over 20 years. The company,
founded by Charlie Ergen, began as a distributor of C-band cable television
systems and filed for a Direct Broadcast Satellite (DBS) license in 1987.
The company received broadcast access in 1992, launched its own
satellite, EchoStar I, in 1995, and introduced DISH Network in 1996.
the company has 9 satellites, and through DISH Network, provides over 500
channels of video, audio, and data satellite services to over 8.5 million
customers in the U.S. In addition
to satellite television services, DISH Network customers can also receive high
speed Internet, Interactive TV (on demand programming), and High Definition TV
is EchoStar's latest innovation, which reportedly delivers extraordinarily
sharp pictures and integrated sound by digitizing television programming.
Broadcasting all DISH Network programming in wide-screen format and
transmitting up to 10 percent more pixels, HDTV provides a clearer more
August of 2003, EchoStar was the first company to offer a satellite receiver
with a built-in digital video recorder (DVR).
A DISH Network standard DVR receiver allows viewers to stop, rewind,
fast forward and record up to 60 hours of live TV programming.
More advanced receivers provide enhanced services.
Network services can be purchased on-line or through a local retailer.
Unlike its competitor, DirecTV, DISH Network offers equipment
installation. This service
usually involves a fee, but often is offered at free or reduced rates through
special sales promotions.
equipment needed for DISH Network satellite TV is basically the same as for
DirecTV service. You need a dish,
a satellite receiver, and the access cards.
Depending on the type of satellite TV you want, you have several
choices for equipment. Whether
you want standard satellite TV or Digital Video Recording (DVR), or High
Definition (HD) options, you will need a dish.
Each type of service requires a different dish, but that is determined
for you when you choose your package.
do the two leading satellite television services compare?
Both offer over 200 channels and Pay Per View selections, DVD
recorders, HDTV and seven HD channels each.
But from there, things differ somewhat.
Here's a side-by-side listing of the different packages and the
services provided. Look them over
and decide which satellite TV service is best for your budget and viewing